tv NBC Nightly News NBC August 30, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
a whole lot of people were standing on the seawall watching the surf. no signs of girl down, because she was a trooper. she decided, though, t an unbelievable turn of events. devastating communities in shock after hurricane irene. tonight, the storm is long gone but the damage grows. there are rescues going on and families trapped and damage in the billions. fighting cancer. tonight, what could be a dramatic new advance for the number-one cancer killer for women. wait until you hear the cost. and the obsession with chocolate and a new study based in science that says -- go ahead. it's okay. it does good things for us. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television captions paid for by nbc-universal television
we really have seen an unbelievable turn of events following the storm here in the east named irene. long gone but it's continuing to unleash incredible damage and chaos. first, some numbers. 43 people are now dead. 3 million americans still without power going into tonight. 13 separate communities in the state of vermont alone are still cut off. there were 700 boat rescues today in just the state of new jersey. it goes on and on and connecticut, 1,000 roads, at least, still blocked. north carolina, this storm changed the map of the outer banks as they had feared. crippled infrastructure in new england. these power outages, 500,000 in connecticut. 300,000 in new jersey, have, as you might imagine, dramatically cut into the quality of life and people's ability to make a living.
we begin with michelle franzen. she is in manville, new jersey, michelle, good evening. >> reporter: you mentioned the water rescues. it's not hard to believe when you're dealing with this storm. people are still not trying to escape the floodwaters. they are overwhelmed with the cleanup. rising rivers unleashed more pain today in the northeast. and help rushed in just as quickly to those areas hardest hit by irene. in patterson, new jersey, one family after another were rescued by boat as their homes and neighborhood fell victim to floodwaters. tonight, mandatory evacuations were ordered for 1,000 families in wallington with floodwaters on the move. >> the floodgates, we got to do something about this. >> and the governor surveyed the latest assault on his state.
>> these floodwaters happen quickly and you can't survive. >> reporter: rivers in upstate new york overwhelmed from the massive runoff from the 'hurricane's rainfall quickly overtopped their banks. >> the challenge for us is to assess the damage and get back to work. >> reporter: in the catskills, towns like prattsville were among the hardest hit. today, looking where her daughter's trailer once stood. >> she lost everything. she has a 2-year-old baby and she's having a baby any time now. >> reporter: meanwhile, in land-locked vermont, people in more than a dozen towns are reportedly cut off after raging floodwaters badly damaged or even washed away roads and more than 200 bridges. after getting married over the weekend at her childhood summer camp.
>> the wedding was beautiful. the rain had not set in. it was gorgeous. >> reporter: the wedding party and more than 100 guests might be trapped for days until they can replace the washed-out bridge. in ludlow, bulldozers cleared debris. neighbors got to work, too. >> is there anything i can do, really? >> we're probably going to run out of groceries. >> reporter: in manville, new jersey, resources and emotions stretched to the limit. >> it's tough, but life goes on, you know? my dad built this house. and now i lost it. >> reporter: brian, there are decisions being made all up and down the east coast, whether it's worth rebuilding or whether people should cut their losses and go. >> unbelievable scene. you work for something all your life and comes along quarterback barely a category 1 storm at the
tail end of its life. and it just keeps on going. michelle franzen from new jersey and a reminder, we're watching the flooding and it runs on a delay. we've had a foot of rain here in the east on top of already-saturated soil. it takes a while to crest. some rivers have yet to crest in the northeast. so much of our time and attention has been devoted to the state of emergency in the state of vermont and with us on the phone tonight from there, the state's public safety commissioner, keith flynn. commissioner, i'm looking at the list of communities that are -- that have people in them cut off. a lot of people, especially skiers in the northeast will recognize the names, killington, stockbridge, stratford, it goes on and on. how many communities are cut off by your count and are live air rescues going on right now? >> at last count we're dropped
down from 13 to 11. so we have been making headway in getting in with the central services into these towns and by using our aot resources to actually get roadways into these towns so we have an avenue of ingress and egress. >> do you have communication with most of the folks who are waiting for help? are any of their circumstances dire or they all doing well but in place? >> as you can imagine, that runs the gamut. we have some type of communication. what we've been trying to do is utilizing all our available resources. for instance, we had 120 troopers out today in the areas, making contact with people. going door-to-door and making welfare checks. just trying to make sure that we're doing what we need to do to help these people sustain their current efforts and get roadways into them to give them
access. >> do you need help? do you have all the people and equipment you need? >> our federal partners, fema, have been extremely helpful in working this. not only by matching resources but also helping in the planning areas. we're resilient people here in vermont. we take pride in helping each other and helping ourselves. we're doing well in that along with our federal partnership. >> well, we're all watching this, commissioner, pretty much aghast as to what has happened to that great state. wishing we could do more and wishing you the very best. if you've been watching we've already experienced more natural disasters this year than the average year and it's still august. and now the agency that helps in disasters is, as you can imagine, short of funds. that's forcing tough choices. our report on this aspect of all the flooding from washington
tonight, and nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: the latest estimates for rebuilding from irene, already $7 billion. as natural disasters go, 2011 is shaping up to be a bad year. winter snow storms, springtime floods, catastrophic tornados in missouri and alabama, wildfires in arizona and texas and now, irene's multistate disaster. so far. 66 major national disasters. the mayor of duck, north carolina today. >> the more we can access fema funds the easier if make our lives. >> reporter: the trouble is, fema's disaster relief fund is low on cash. less than $800 million left and the shortfall could climb to $5 billion. so to pay for immediate emergencies, fema is freezing new requests from state and local governments to rebuild from past disasters. joplin, tuscaloosa and even, hurricane katrina. >> we're not stopping individual assistance or projects under way
from earlier disasters to pay for this disaster. >> reporter: new projects are postponed until congress provides the money. the republican-controlled house already voted to give fema an extra billion dollars this fiscal year but that's tied to a billion in budget cuts, senate democrats haven't acted. house majority leader, eric cantor on fox news. >> we're going to find the money but we need to make sure that there are savings elsewhere to continue to do so. >> reporter: in the last week, kantor's own state of virginia has been hit hard by an earthquake and a hurricane. the question is which government programs might have to the sacrifice to pay for disasters this year and next. tom costello, nbc news, washington. >> one more note about damage. it extends to a lot of farms. irene killed, for example, 30,000 chickens in just the state of maryland. it has badly damaged the tobacco
crop and the sizable blueberry crop in south jersey. the damage extends to the north along with flooding and wind damage. the farming country of upstate new york and vermont, hit hard, too early for an estimate of loss. and forgive us for doing this, after all we've been through, but we need to introduce you to katia. it's a long way away, closer to africa than the u.s. but the meteorologists at the weather channel has identified it as the next formidable storm. it's a tropical storm tonight but expect it to be declared a hurricane by wednesday. a chance it could turn into a major hurricane. we've reached kay in the alphabet of storm names this hurricane season. katia will replace katrina as they retire the names of the more memorable storms. and a fine how do you do.
how about a fire to further darken the sixth anniversary of katrina in new orleans? this is a marsh fire burning in eastern new orleans. a swampy marsh out there. once these fires start they usually burn themselves out to the water line. they're hard to put out. but look at the air quality in new orleans today. the mayor decided to fight it from the air and declared a state of emergency. now four black hawk helicopters from the state national guard, with buckets of water affixed to them have been deployed. they'll fight it 500 gallons at a time. the wind shift brought the smoke into several louisiana parishes. a lightning strike started this fire and it may take until next week's predicted rains there to finally put it out. switching now to news from overseas. we have no idea where gadhafi is. while he's no longer in charge in libya, there's a huge search for him under way and as they go
about the search, they're discovering more about how lavish a lifestyle he maintained. stephanie gosk has the report from tripoli. >> reporter: tripoli is theirs but as long as moammar gadhafi is on the run, rebels say the fight is not over. he has save havens and loyal followers. despite promises of amnesty and a $1 million bounty. the head of libya's interim council warned the city of gadhafi's hometown to surrender by saturday or face attack. we will decide this matter militarily, he says. we don't wish to do so but we cannot wait longer. but where is gadhafi? maybe dead, some say, or already out of the country. some family members have escaped, his wife and three grown children fled to neighboring algeria on monday. iesha, nine months pregnant had
to give birth on the way. we visited her lavish home in tripoli, now firmly cooled by rebels. her house, looted and heavily damaged but the trappings of a luxury lifestyle plain to see. an indoor pool. massive dining room table still set for dinner. expensive clothes. this opulence is on display publicly for the first time, fueling the anger that average libyans feel towards the gadhafi family. but most believe gadhafi will stay and fight. when the uprising began, he gave a now infamous speech. saying he would hunt street to street and house to house for those that betrayed him. six months later the rebels are returning the favor. stephanie gosk, nbc news, tripoli. we learned today, the month of august was the worst ever in terms of american losses in the war in afghanistan. there were a total of 66 u.s.
service members that were killed in afghanistan this month. nearly half of them when the taliban shot down the chinook helicopter killing 30 american troops. most of them, members of the navy s.e.a.l.s. and by the way, speaking of our fallen veterans, if you haven't seen this picture, if you've ever loved a dog, this one puts a lump in your throat. this is a lab named hawkeye of at the funeral of one of the navy s.e.a.l.s with one that was killed when the helicopter was shot in afghanistan. he was walked up to the casket and laid down after heaving a big sigh and that says more than we can. when "nightly news" continues on a tuesday night, important news about the number one cancer killer for women. what could be a breakthrough drug for some of them and for some men, too. and later, the science that now just might justify an american addiction.
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we're back with news about the biggest cancer killer of all, lung cancer. the news is about a new drug, xalkori, a kind of treatment called "targeted therapy." not all drugs help all patients, but the ones that do help they help a lot. the fda recently approved such a drug for lung cancer and our chief science correspondent, robert bazell has details tonight. >> reporter: beverly never smoked cigarettes. but not long ago she was near
death from stage four lung cancer until she started taking xalkori. >> i've seen two grandchildren. two of my kids get married. you can't ask for more. >> reporter: xalkori is a helps about 5% of cancer patients. those that have a specific protein of the surface of the cancer cells. there's so much lung cancer in the u.s., that 10,000 patients a year are diagnosed with this kind. a simple lab test could reveal which patients might benefit. when the results work, these scans are amazing. these scans show the lungs of a patient before treatment. the white area is the cannes. -- cancer and after the treatment, the cancer is completely gone. >> many times these pills can cause a very rapid improvement in their symptoms.
sometimes even within a few days of starting on the pills. >> she now walks two miles a day and regularly goes to the gym. >> for someone who's been on chemo and i am no longer on chemo, this is a miracle. >> reporter: most experts would agree, but to be clear, this is not a cure. what's given many patients in the clinical trials, several good years, eventually it stops working. and drugmaker pfizer is charging more than $115,000 a year for the drug. progress in cancer, now routinely coming with big price tags. robert bazell, nbc news, new york. when we come back in just a moment, remembering what may be the last voice of its kind.
you may recall a couple days back when the gadhafi regime you may recall a couple days back when the gadhafi regime crumbles, the unceasing of automatic weapons in the air. very prevalent in that part of the world. we've seen it in a number of events. all those rounds that go up have to come down and when they do, they kill and injure people. it happened again, several times in libya. our own richard engel saw a banner going up in libya and sent us the picture of it. "please stop shooting hoops fire in the air, it risks people's lives." it signed a the government, one in english and one in arabic. in this country, controversial michael vick has been richly rewarded for playing football. the eagles will pay him $100 million over six years, making
him third best-paid quarterback in the nfl behind peyton manning and tom brady. vick, you'll recall, went to prison in '07 after pleading guilty to charges of being involved in an illegal dog fighting operation. david honey boy edwards has died. last of the original delta blues men. he was born in shaw, mississippi, in 1915. traveled and played with all the greats, and he retired just last month from playing music. he died at his home in chicago yesterday. he was 96 years old. up next here tonight, news about chocolate and the new data that's making this pleasure a little less guilty, if you're looking for cover. i can't enjoy my own barbecue with these nasal allergies. i know what works differently than many other allergy medications. omnaris.
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denial while pounding back the chocolate, you'll want to hear this. bona fide science, a real study saying there are good and beneficial things in the chocolate, especially for your heart. our report tonight from nbc's lee cowan. >> reporter: we're all sweet on chocolate, even though the cocoa bean itself is pretty bitter. christopher columbus claims to be the original chockaholic. but the ancient aztecs have been drinking it for thousands of years before it was discovered. either way, chocolate has changed us. >> sometime i just take the big bottle of syrup and drink the whole thing. >> reporter: enough to get bunnies squawking like chickens. served as a peace offering to shy aliens. even the famous bit of wisdom -- "life was like a box of chocolates. you never know what you're going to get."
>> reporter: but what we do know is that chocolate triggers the release of endorphins. a feel-good food. it contains stimulants, as well, like caffeine making us alert and aware. a british medical journal suggests what others have hinted that eating enough chocolate may decrease heart disease by as much as 37%. that makes chocolate the red wine of the sweet world. there are benefits but only in moderation. it's the flavonoids that do the trick an antioxidant found in other foods but those other foods don't have the fan base that chocolate does. >> my obsession started very early on. >> reporter: look at bianca, she loves chocolate and she's a chocolate lover. she was so upset she blogged about chocolate, but all with a friendly warmth. >> eat it slowly, enjoy it and don't go overboard.
>> reporter: mark twain said the only way to keep your health, eat what you don't want, drink what you like and do what you'd rather not. nothing is perfect. but chocolate may be as close as mother nature can get. lee cowan, nbc news, los angeles. >> permission to go wild. that's our broadcast for this tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you back here tomorrow evening. good night. complete this merger, and present to the board, sink your teeth into some big n' toasty if you understand. good. you've got spunk. a big day calls for the big n' toasty. wrap your hands around fried eggs, cherrywood smoked bacon, and cheese on texas toast. america runs on dunkin'.